Toot toot, All Aboard The Minivan Express!

Click here to download your golden tickets!

Don’t drive a mini-van? Don’t worry, page 2 has “Christmas Express” tickets, so you can make it work for your family no matter what you’re driving, it could even be a sleigh! ;o) wink…wink…

So what are these golden tickets for?

Ready to start a Christmas tradition that the whole family will enjoy? I know you’ve all seen The Polar Express, well, this is our own version of that fun adventure! Each year we hide the “Golden Tickets” in our kids’ beds. My husband starts the bedtime routine as usual, while I prepare little bags of popcorn and hot chocolate drinks and place them in the car, oh and don’t forget to have Christmas music playing in the car too!

When the kids go to climb into bed, they will find the ticket hidden under their covers, get ready for lots of giggles and screams as they all find their tickets! The kids are then instructed to grab their slippers and head for the car.

Upon entrance to The Minivan Express, we hole punch the ticket (you know for effect and all.) Next, we travel around the city looking at all the beautiful lights. We may even stop somewhere for a fun snack on the way home. Now the kids look forward to this each year and look forward to getting “those special tickets”!

Some trip ideas for you:

  • Check online for best Christmas Lights in your area! Pack up your car with popcorn in rudolf cups, hot chocolate in coffee mugs (with a lid!), and Christmas music! Enjoy driving around your neighborhood checking out all the Christmas lights!
  • Check your local Barnes & Noble, most years they do “The Polar Express “ for story time, all the kids come in their jammies, and ours gave out little jingle bells to all the kids!
  • Ice Skating: If you have a local outdoor ice rink, check out prices and times, and go ice skating!
  • Polar Express Lapbook Printables: Since this idea was taken from The Polar Express, I thought I’d add a link for more fun activities: The Polar Express.
  • North Pole: Check online for North Pole exhibits in your area, some even have a train the kids can ride on!
  • Santa Claus: Pack the kids in the car and take a trip to see Santa at your local mall and get their pictures taken!



  1. I just want to thank you for this idea and printable. We did it last night on a whim and they loved it soooo much. At first my 7 year old got up set when she found out we weren’t going on a real train, but she had a blast anyway. This is how I know we are doing it again next year: My 3 year would not let go of his ticket when we got home. He went to bed with it. He got up a couple of times in the middle of the night and still had his ticket in his hand. It was so sweet to see him walk into the living room this morning still holding on to his ticket. He is still holding it as I’m writing this. It was so special to him.

    We had asked someone in our ward who lives in a gated community if we could come to their neighborhood, then she calls me back and said she left out candy canes for the kids. So sweet. We ended up driving about 30 minutes to where my sister lives because we had found out there were a couple of houses who did that light show with the music thing and at the last minute we decided to drop by her house and we sang Jingle Bells and Christmas Bells are Ringing (they had been learning that in Primary). Funny thing is that my sister was doing the same thing (without the tickets)!! Christmas pajamas, picture in front of the tree, popcorn and hot chocolate and the same houses! We had gotten there just in time, it was so funny! She is definitely doing the Christmas Express next year.

  2. I just wanted to thank you for the printables. We always do the “tacky light tour” in our city, so I thought it would be cute to surprise them with the tickets. It took what was always a fun time into an amazing adventure for them. They screamed and jumped for joy when they found the tickets on their pillows at bedtime. Getting to go in their PJs with popcorn and hot chocolate for the trip was such fun. Thank you for helping us put a little more magic into our Christmas season. It is amazing how such small things can make such big memories. This will be a family tradition and I’m sure one that my (future) grandchildren will carry on 🙂 Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  3. Thank you for this wonderful idea and download for the tickets!!!! We are going to our daughters for Christmas and doing this with their 4 children–they will be SO excited!!!!! Thank you!!!!

  4. Thank you so much for this adorable idea – found it on pinterest. We did this with our kids tonight and the expression on their faces when they found the tickets in their beds was priceless! They had so much fun (and we had even more fun watching them get so excited) and they kept saying “this is the best night ever” from the backseat. God bless you and yours, have a very Merry Christmas! Thanks for this new tradition in our family.


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